Ron Dart 2009 Sermons

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0902 A Light for the Path
0906 Doctrinal Boundaries
Be of the same mind. How? In all things? Or are there boundaries? Don't strive over words. Importance of humility in working together. The cause of most divisions. Arguments can disguise the real issue. Subjects discussed: Cross vs Stake; Arius; Trinity; What is a heretic?; Value of "I Don't Know"; Doctrines vs Beliefs.
0908 Between the Hailstones
Would you rather have riches or wisdom? Today's economic conditions in light of the Proverbs. The practical benefits of tithing. Courage is not the lack of fear, but facing fear and overcoming it. Will we walk in these times with confidence or fear? The love of money. The duty of Christian people for strangers in these times. A cure for fear is action -- "whatsoever he does will prosper".
0910 Written for Our Admonition
All the Old Testament applies to us today, including Zephaniah, whose prophecy this sermon primarily addresses. The danger of mixing pagan worship practices with worship of God. Churches in our society have, in general, abandoned the Bible. Josiah's reforms; cycles of excess and hard times. Nuclear destruction of Gaza prophesied? Of Judah? Zephaniah 3 sounds like the United States, but in the end, we will learn our lesson. We, as Christians, willb e right in the middle of bad times. We must remain faithful. These things were written for us.
0912 Deliver Us From Evil
In the Lord's prayer there is this line: ".lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." Why do we have to ask that? Also, Jesus said in Matthew, our Father knows what things we have need of, before we ask him. So, why is it we have to pray, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil? As God knows what we have need of before we ask, why do we have to ask? How is it that the question of Theodicy or the reconciliation of the existence of evil in the world with the existence of God, exist? Listen as Ronald Dart explains that in order for us be truly free, what and why we must pray.
0914 Kingdom of Heaven
We often suffer from a lack of meaning. Words too often have meaning to us in context, but even insiders suffer from a lack of meaning of what the words meant in their original meaning by the people who actually wrote them. It is an important distinction to make. Over the years, even in Bible reading, problems have arisen over the loss of meaning, including the loss from translations. Too often, like parrots, we repeat meaning without a clue as to what the author originally meant when he first wrote the word down. There sometimes seems to be a completely different meaning from what popular religious culture repeats. It is a lot like a switch that will not close, so often we have to dig a little deeper to find the original intent of the author. One of these is the concept of the Kingdom of Heaven. Listen as Ronald L Dart digs a little deeper into the usage of the term by Matthew who uses the phrase 32 times in his gospel, as to what he really meant by the words, Kingdom of Heaven, even as others seemed to use the term, Kingdom of God. Is there a difference?
0916 For the People
What was Jesus' motivation? What got Him out of the bed in the morning? What made Him do the things that He did? What drove Him day after day after day? It is not a question of ideas or abstract and there is an answer to the question. The answer is found in Matthew 9, so listen along while Ronald Dart explains what is was that drove Jesus day by day.
0918 The Authority of Christ
There is a mistake many people make in studying scripture. They try to go too far - I call it over explanation! A scripture we really need to remember, commit to memory and hang on to is Deut. 29:29, "The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law." The secret things are not so much hidden as just beyond our capacity, beyond our grasp. We are dependent upon our vocabulary and our experiences and we explain and understand based on common experiences. If God told us some of the secret things, we might blow a fuse. When we try to explain those things that are not revealed, we risk becoming vain. Paul also warned us about a strife of words. The scripture in Deut. 29:29 tells us that the things which are revealed belong to us that we may do all the words of this law - how we should act, how we should perform in life.
0920 The Fifth Sabbath
Today is Sabbath number five leading up to the Feast of Weeks. This day fell 35 days after the resurrection and I think the disciples had spent the last five weeks in a state of shock. When you don't have a peg to hang something on it falls to the floor and the disciples really had no idea of where to hang all these things Christ was telling them. So, it really makes sense that Jesus spent some time with them during these days leading up to today, since the resurrection, telling the disciples about all the things that were going to happen and all the things they were going to have to do. The big difference now being they have a better frame of reference, after all the things that have happened, than they had before. They knew and understood much of what Christ had told them, but I really don't think they had a clue what was actually going to happen on the Feast of Pentecost.
0922 The Seventh Sabbath
The three days Jesus was in the tomb had to be the worst days of the disciples' lives. Their emotions were taken on a wrenching, roller coaster ride. After Jesus' resurrection, He spent 40 days with His disciples. But why didn't Jesus stay with them the full 50 days until Pentecost? Did the disciples need time for their minds to settle down - time to reflect on what had happened and its meaning? It's good for us to think about the reactions of Peter, Thomas, and the other disciples during those 50 days. They had plenty of sorting to do - plenty of questions to answer - as they worked their way through the enormity of what had happened and how it would impact their lives. This sermon will cause you to think more deeply about how and what the disciples did during the ten days after Jesus ascension until Pentecost.
0924 That I May Know Him
Why is the way of the Christian so hard? The role of affliction and tribulation in the life of the Christian. Why did the Hebrews 11 faithful have to suffer? Because it made them into something they had not yet become. Consider this as a goal: To know and understand God as he reveals himself.
0926 Godliness With Contentment
Context of “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content” is slavery, but is that really all that different from a job? Extensive look at 1 Timothy 6, concerning pride, strife, deceit, conceit, argumentative, envy, love of money. Don’t set out to be rich. Instead, do the right thing first; follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Do not trust in riches. Bernie Madoff played off greed. The Bible example is to lay a good foundation through generosity. Economists don’t understand things because they miss the eternal simplicity of Paul’s words. The important thing is the love of family, friends, brethren—but first, of God. Not merely in this world, but in the world to come. Everything else is a distraction.
0928 The Art of the Question
When you get the question right, usually the answer will be obvious. The object of asking should be to acquire wisdom and understanding.
1) Is the question relevant? Example: Lazarus and the rich man. Why do I need to know?
2) Is the question concrete. Example: Symbolism of Revelation 12, woman, dragon, place of safety, moon & stars, Israel of God.
3) Is it exclusive?
So, then, how should we live our lives? Why did churches provide hurricane Katrina support? Why visit the sick and imprisoned?
0930 Where Are You?
Is God everywhere? Does He have to be? Or are there places He doesn't have to be, like looking in on Sodom? Does He see everything? Biblical examples of God apparently not knowing certain things, or having to confirm them. God gives us freedom and privacy, and there are repeated Biblical examples and parables of God (or Jesus) going away then returning, demanding an accounting. God may very well ask us, as we ought to ask ourselves, Why are you here? What are you doing?
0932 A Generation of Liars
It seems our whole society is filled with liars and inflammatory language. Where do we go for objective truth? Six keys for avoiding the pitfalls in such a society. Are Christians naive -- believing all things? A Biblical look at these subjects: Truth-tellers get skewered; Frivolous lawsuits; George Orwell's 1984; Wealth brings corruption; Lies lead to bad judgment and no justice. If it were not possible for Christians to be deceived, then why is there a warning?
0936 Can You Give to God?
Jesus taught tithing. Every human has a need to give as evidenced by Jesus not returning the widow’s mite. God is able to multiply even the smallest of gifts. The tithe acknowledges God’s blessings. Why would a man want to exclude his finances from his covenant with God? Levitical and Melchizedek priesthoods. What about obligations to family and being able to tithe? Do I need to make up for past unpaid tithes? Where do I pay my tithe? How do I start to tithe? Dart gives sound financial advice.
0942 How Did the First Christians Assemble?
Definition of church (ecclesia) is “assembly.” Most, if not all churches in the New Testament were house churches, probably dozens in Jerusalem, and necessitated by the size of Rome. What can we learn from those churches who had no cars, no internet, no sound systems, no tapes, no large halls, no pianos, no distractions (radio, TV)? Dart addresses the “wall of hostility”or “wall of separation” and the abolished law in Ephesians 2. Ephesians 4 as a mission statement for the church. Unity is of the spirit and cannot be coerced. One body, one spirit, Day of Atonement, and the importance of reconciliation among ourselves. Gifts are given by God, leading to offices, for the purpose of preparing God’s people for service that the body will grow and mature and become more like Christ now. How to control your anger (which must be possible or Paul wouldn’t have admonished us to do so) and other admonitions that will help the body of Christ grow.
0944 The Accounting
Paul will repeatedly use a word to drive home a point. In this sermon, accounting terms used by Paul are the subject: debt, tallying, count up, take inventory, reckon, counted, entered into the books. Do we forgive debts as we are forgiven them? If we have faith and believe, God will not impute (take inventory of) our sins, and Christ’s death wipes out the ledger of debits against us. Regardless of the great tally against us, God can clear the books. While not refuting the prophetic identity of the United States and Britain, Dart notes how the children of Abraham were physical in the Old Testament and are spiritual in the New Testament and parallels this with Israel being physical in the Old Testament, and the possibility that prophetic, end-time Israel may be spiritual (the Israel of God). If so, who might that be today?
0946 God's First Love
The story of Abraham and how God’s relationship with him laid the foundation for the rest of the Bible. Subjects include: covenant, obedience, faith, righteousness, circumcision.
0948 A Prophet Cometh
If a prophet came today, how would we react? How bad would things have to get before we would listen? A review of Israel’s & Judah’s troubles in the time of Isaiah and their applications to us today, especially as individuals. Bad times may cause a people to repent and change – or maybe not. The value of Godly discipline and how to grow from it. Meaning of the phrase “shake once more’ in Hebrews 12. It is much better to take difficulties as being from God and learn from them, than to write them off as bad luck and not learn or grow.
0950 Believing the Unbelievable
Christianity is based on many witnesses, not just one and not a cabal. How the gospel accounts developed; The importance of belief; Sacred names doctrine (Hebrew names); Preservation, authenticity, and canonization of the New Testament. A detailed look at the scholarship involved in evaluating the New Testament documents. How the apparent contradictions in the gospel accounts establish the independence of the witnesses. We don’t have to trust an institution or a man to convince us of the historical validity of the Biblical witnesses. How does inspiration come into play in the Biblical writings? What about the differences in the ancient manuscripts? Once the validity is established, the question is “Do we believe the witnesses?”
0952 The Prime Directive
The history of WCG and its openness in the 1940’s and early 50’s. The question “Did Christ put authority in the church?” raised issues such as makeup, permission to attend church, and top-down government. Dart discusses the effect this change had on the church, and compares it to Biblical examples of such as Acts 13, where the holy spirit led the apostles to separate for the good of the work and how there was no contact with, or approval from, anyone in Jerusalem. Also cited was Paul’s Acts 9 calling, training, and commission, which was all done without any knowledge or contact with anyone in Jerusalem. The prime directive Dart concludes from the Bible is “Thou shalt do nothing to abridge the freedom of man.” Adam and Eve were free to choose. Israel in the time of the judges had the government God wanted, and were the free-est people in the history of the world. That freedom permitted them to reject the government of God and replace it with a human, top-down government like the nations around them. God wants us to have freedom, even if it means we reject Him.
09ATONE Atonement 2009
The priest going into the holy of holies once a year parallels with once in all of God’s plan that the “barrier” would be breached. Leviticus 16 ceremony symbolic of Jesus going into the holy of holies in heaven. Two goats, but one sin offering. Dart examines different theories as to the identity and symbolism of the 2 goats. There is a 2-step process in our salvation – justification by His death, life by His resurrection. Explanation of the “wall of separation” in Ephesians 2 and the unification of all believers. Passover is personal, Atonement is collective. Atonement requires us to do nothing. Symbolically, our salvation is all done for us; there is nothing we can do.
09F6 Saving Generation Z
Dart gives the remarkable story of the preservation of the Bible from memory by the Lutheran women of Poland. But he then gives a pessimistic outlook for the near future and laments the decline of society and the church. Dart reads from the blessings and cursings of Deuteronomy and applies them to the United States. "We're a long way down the wrong road." Dart ends with the most important things the church and the family can do -- bringing up the children in a solid knowledge of God and His word.
09F10 Romans 9-11
Dart examines Paul's statements in Romans chapters 9 thru 11, how Paul was tormented in trying to reconcile how Israel could have rejected Christ. Paul talks his way through a difficult and paradoxical situation. Was it God that caused Israel to be blinded? The Jews were so sure they were right, they rejected Christ. There is danger in arrogance. The root of the tree is not Israel, but Christ. As a Last Great Day sermon, Dart wraps it up by answering the question about those who die not believing in Christ. "All Israel will be saved." That requires a resurrection and an opportunity yet future - Revelation 20.
09TRU Feast of Trumpets 2009
The written law is not abolished. The end time, trumpets, and the resurrection – are all very important to people, all of whom crave meaning in their life. Two sets of 7 trumpets. A clear statement of what the gospel is. “The resurrection of Jesus is the pivotal point in all of history.” Contrast of tolerating harmless tares and not tolerating the harmful. Church discipline – reasons and methods. The coming Kingdom of God, our role in it and our possible distant future. Extensive look at the resurrection chapter, 1 Corinthians 15. Conclusion: Apply yourself to the work God has given you.